There are a lot of material design GTK themes out there, but what about a material inspired icon theme? Introducing the Papirus icon theme! It’s an icon theme that takes heavy inspiration from Google’s material design guidelines and makes Linux desktop environments look nice and modern.
For best results, consider pairing the Papirus icon theme with the Adapta GTK theme.
Ubuntu users can easily install the Papirus icon theme on their system thanks to there being a PPA software repository available. This PPA has support for all modern versions of Ubuntu. Even if you’re not using 18.04, as long as your version is still receiving updates, chances are it will work.
To install this PPA, open up a terminal and enter the following command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:papirus/papirus
The add-apt-repository command will instantly take the Papirus software source and add it to Ubuntu. However, even though the software source is now on Ubuntu, that doesn’t mean Papirus can install. Before continuing, we’ll need to refresh Ubuntu’s software sources, so that Papirus can be seen by the package manager.
sudo apt update
After running the apt update command, system upgrades will appear most likely. It’s imperative to install these software upgrades, as they could affect how icons are rendered on your Linux PC. It’s also just a good idea to keep your system up to date. Install upgrades with the apt upgrade command.
sudo apt upgrade -y
With all upgrades installed on Ubuntu, it’s safe to get the latest version of the Papirus icon theme. Install it with the command below:
sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme
Debian, like Ubuntu, enjoys some decent support for the Papirus icon theme. To get it going, you’re going to need to add a third party software source. However, it should be noted that this software source isn’t an official Debian one. Instead, it’s for Ubuntu Xenial (aka 16.04). Going this route usually works on Debian Stable, however, on other versions of Debian, you may run into issues. If this method doesn’t work for you, follow the generic instructions for Papirus instead.
First, add the software source to Debian’s sources folder. In this instance, instead of adding it to the main /etc/apt/sources.list file, we’ll create a separate one. Using the echo command, write the new repo to Debian:
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/papirus/papirus/ubuntu xenial main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/papirus-ppa.list"
Next, download and activate the Papirus software source’s GPG key. Don’t skip this step! Setting up the Papirus software source on Debian without a key will cause errors!
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com E58A9D36647CAE7F
The GPG and software source are in place. Now it’s time to refresh Debian’s software sources, so the Apt package manager sees Papirus.
sudo apt-get update
Updating Debian may yield some software updates. Install them before continuing, by using the apt-get upgrade command.
sudo apt-get upgrade -y
Finally, install the Papirus icon theme to your Debian Linux PC with the following command:
sudo apt-get install papirus-icon-theme
Unlike a lot of other Linux distributions, Arch Linux actually has the Papirus icon theme in the main software sources. To install it, open up a terminal and use the Pacman package manager to sync the latest package to your system.
sudo pacman -S papirus-icon-theme
Fedora users can install Papirus via a third-party Copr repository. To enable this Copr repo, open up a terminal and use the DNF package tool.
Note: if the Copr repo doesn’t work for you on Fedora, consider using the generic instructions instead.
sudo dnf copr enable dirkdavidis/papirus-icon-theme
After enabling the Papirus Copr repo, it’s safe to install it to the system with DNF:
sudo dnf install papirus-icon-theme
The Papirus icon theme is available for all OpenSUSE users, both Leap and Tumbleweed, thanks to it being uploaded to the OBS. To get it, follow this link and click the “install” button next to your version of SUSE. Selecting the “Direct Install” button will instantly open up YaST and allow you to get the Papirus icon theme on your SUSE PC.
Papirus has a Bash script installation tool for those who aren’t lucky enough to be on any of the Linux distributions mentioned above. To use the installation script, open up a terminal and grab it with the wget download tool.
To install this icon theme system-wide, try:
sudo wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/papirus-icon-theme/master/install.sh | sh
Alternatively, install the Papirus icon theme for a single user with the following command.
wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/papirus-icon-theme/master/install.sh | DESTDIR="$HOME/.icons" sh
Enabling The Theme
Not sure how to enable the Papirus icon theme on your Linux distribution? Don’t worry! Check out our list below and learn how to apply the Papirus icon theme on all modern Linux distributions.